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Posted at: Jun 21, 2015, 1:03 AM; last updated: Jun 21, 2015, 1:02 AM (IST)

Andhra Governor caught in cash-for-vote scam crossfire

TDP accuses Guv of failing to take action in illegal phone-tapping case
Andhra Governor caught in cash-for-vote scam crossfire

Lok Satta Party workers protest over cash-for-vote scam in Hyderabad on Saturday. PTI

Suresh Dharur

Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, June 20

Governor ESL Narasimhan appears to be caught in the political crossfire as the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments are engaged in a fierce battle of wits over the cash-for-vote scam.

Narasimhan, who is the Governor of both the states, is under attack by the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in AP for failing to rein in the Telangana government and take action against illegal phone tapping of its leaders by the neighbouring state.

The Governor is faced with an unenviable task of playing the role of an umpire when the game is increasingly acquiring political overtones. AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is in the eye of a political storm over the scam, is reportedly unhappy with the way the Governor has been handling the situation.

Naidu and his party leaders have even petitioned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for intervention in the matter as they feel that the government was favouring Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in the ongoing row.

Accusing his Telangana counterpart of “tapping his and his party leaders’ phones”, Naidu has been demanding strict implementation of the provisions of Section 8 of the AP Reorganisation Act that deals with the powers of the Governor in overseeing the law and order and public security in Hyderabad which will be the common capital for a period of 10 years.

The TDP government feels that the Governor should have played a “proactive” role in taking acting against the Telangana government for phone tapping.

Ever since the arrest of TDP legislator A Revanth Reddy, while offering bribe to nominated MLA of the Telangana Assembly Elvis Stephenson to vote for the TDP in the recent elections to the Legislative Council, the Governor’s office has been under pressure to defuse the situation.

The Chief Ministers of both the states, along with their senior party leaders, have been submitting petitions to the Governor to press for their demands.

The Telangana CM argues that Section 8 of the Act clearly states that the Governor “shall take any decision only after consulting the Council of Ministers of the State of Telangana”. Since Hyderabad is in Telangana, law and order will be under the control of the Telangana state police, it is argued.

On its part, the Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is probing the scandal involving the TDP leaders, has sought the Governor’s permission to send a notice to Chandrababu Naidu in connection with the surfacing of an audio tape purportedly containing his conversation with Stephenson and assuring him that all the “commitments made to him would be honoured.”

The audio tape was aired by T Channel, a media house owned by the family members of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

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